When the cold weather is upon us, many people spend a great deal of extra money on their energy bills. Throughout the winter, the amount of money that you spend on your energy bills can really add up. Fortunately however, there are a few ways that you can save energy and money this winter.
Turn down the thermostat
When it gets cold outside, your first instinct is to make it as warm as possible inside. This can be very costly. You should keep your thermostat set to 68 degrees during the day. This can save you up to five percent on your heating costs. If you find that you are cold during the day, simply put a stylish holiday sweater on.
Before you go to bed, you should set the thermostat to 55 degrees. While you are sleeping, you are covered up under the blankets and are confined to a smaller space that will stay a bit warmer. There is no need to keep the temperature up at 68 degrees. If you are planning to leave the house for an extended period of time, you should turn the heat down to 55 degrees as well. When you do this, you can save between five and 20 percent on your heating costs.
You can even consider installing a programmable thermostat. By automating your heating settings, you can save about $180 a year in heating costs.
Replace or clean furnace filter
When your furnace’s filter is dirty, it can restrict airflow, causing the furnace to work even harder. By keeping the filter clean, you can save between five and 20 percent on your energy cost. At a minimum, you should be changing this filter every three months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make your system work harder to keep your home warm, which wastes a considerable amount of energy.
Tune up your furnace
When you have your furnace tuned-up regularly, you will be sure that it is in proper working condition. A tune-up will ensure that the furnace is clean, properly lubricated, and properly adjusted. This can save you up to 5 percent on your heating costs. Check out our Essential HomeCare maintenance plans if you’re looking for a quick furnace tune-up before the cold months really set in.
Reduce the Hot Water Temperature
When trying to save money on your energy cost in the winter, it is a good idea to set the water heater on the normal setting, which is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This can save you between seven and 11 percent on your water heating costs. If you have a dishwasher, and the owner’s manual suggests you keep the temperature higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, you should set the water heater to the temperature noted in the owner’s manual.
Seal Up Leaks
Start by inspecting your doors and windows. If you notice leaks that will allow the cold air to get in, you should caulk the leaks. If you have older windows, you can purchase a plastic kit, which allows you to cover the windows with plastic, keeping the cold air out, until the weather warms up.
Next, look in places where you have pipes or vents that go through the wall, floor, or ceiling. Also, check underneath the kitchen and bathroom sink. If the gaps in these areas are small, caulk will work fine. If the gaps are large, your local hardware store will have something effective for these gaps.
If it fits your budget, replace your old gas appliances with an ENERGY STAR furnace or water heater, which can save you a great deal of money on heating and hot water costs.
Winter does not mean that you need to drain your bank account just to keep your family warm. By trying these simple steps, you can save a great deal of money during the winter months.